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MOLL, Herman.

A Map of the West Indies or the Islands of America in the North Sea; with the adjacent countries;

explaining what belongs to Spain, England, France, Holland &c also the Trade Winds and the several Tracts made by Galeons and Flota from place to place...

Published: London. [1720]

Stock code: 65849

Price: £4,000

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This item is on show at 100 Fulham Road (map)

This is a map that reveals Moll both as an astute political observer and thinker, and also as a commercially savvy operator. This map of the West Indies is full of commercially sensitive information about the Spanish gold runs, and it is entirely feasible that the map was deliberately suited as a guide to English piracy and privateering in the West Indies. Through his London connections, Moll knew of two prominent English pirates or privateers: Woodes Rogers and William Dampier. They may have given Moll essential, crucial knowledge to include and publish on his maps. Moll clearly shows the routes taken by the Spanish in their endeavours to collect gold, silver and gems from their territories in New Spain. The fleets entered by Granada and Trinidad, and stopped in Cartagena; from there they headed northward to Havana, and crossed the Gulf of Mexico en route to the port of Vera Cruz, where they would take on a rich cargo from their silver mines in Potosi. Heavily laden with cargo, the fleet would then make good use of prevailing trade winds and make for Havana again, prior to heading out through Florida and the Bahamas to take them across the Atlantic back to Europe. Significantly, Moll engraves five of the most important Spanish ports and harbours involved with the “gold run”. It is interesting to note that Moll dedicates the wonderful and enterprising map to William Patterson, the founder of The Bank of England. There is a large decorative cartouche of Mexico city in the lower left corner of the map. This detailed map appeared in Moll’s A New and Compleat Atlas.

2 sheets joined. Size: 595 x 1030 mm. Copperplate engraving, with original outline colour. Some skilful paper restoration to map folds and to worm holes. Very good condition.

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